There’s Always A Guard

The Guardian of Green Mountain Trail, JS-L ©2019

All journeys, no matter where they start, at some point arrive at a guardian who demands proof the hero or heroine is worthy to move onward.

Fearfully staring at my threshold guardian, all spiky tentacles angrily jabbing the air, swinging blade-sharp rapiers, puncturing reality with an intensity that mesmerizes me, I wonder.

Are you good or evil? A henchman of an unknown antagonist? Or are you an animal that simply exists, neutral to all but your own nature? Are you the beast that asks me a riddle, and then gleefully consumes my living soul as my body writhes in agony because I did not speak aloud the correct answer?

Could you be my guide to help me through my trials? The sherpa who has been up and down the mountain so many times, your intimacy with the route is your shield? The all-knowing angel who sees my value before I even know it myself and are tasked to help me in the finding?

Trembling, I wonder if you are the worst of all. The embodiment of my fears, obsessions, and hatreds. The Guardian that always presents yourself as the mirror image of the one I detest the most. Peering into that looking glass, I see me, the disappointed, the distracted, the diminished. There, staring back at me, is the only person or thing that will forever keep me from starting my journey, let alone seeing its end. This Guardian casually flings my misunderstood emotions and meaningless dreams into the ether, and, as indifferently, watches them land with no effect upon a world that confirms my valueless life.

I think you the third.

Now, Guardian, let me tell you what I do see. You, the Past, desperately looking for a reason to stay relevant; sending your warped appendages digging, searching for sustenance; waving madly for attention; swinging demanding fists for retribution against slights and insults; cajoling then arguing when your indignations go unheard.

You are an incomplete death.

I carried you for so long. Whatever purpose served, I was completely entangled. A familiar torment is still a type of comfort but one that eventually needs, if one chooses to live, an axe taken to it.

Enough. I no longer need that burden of tangled roots, molding rot, and stench of unresolved pain. Better I carry your memory on my journey. I’ll make that promise to you.

You tried to guard a way that is still treacherously threaded and knotted with my own-made stumbles that trip me in my tracks and bar my way forward.

Hear this. Be food and shelter for worms. Allow birds to rest in your embrace. May the seasons guide you back into the earth. You can’t guard anything anymore, because I know what you are now.

You are only a tree, blown over by a hard storm’s wind, because your roots were too shallow. You are only a dead tree now and no longer stand guard upon this road; and I have somewhere else to be.

Forward. Onward.

To the journey’s end.

7 thoughts on “There’s Always A Guard

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  1. If you have Netflix, take the time to watch Bill Moyers’ series about Joseph Campbell. This entry reminded me of the issues Campbell discusses — I’m not sure yet what I think about his philosophy (“follow your bliss”), but his insights into human nature are thought provoking.
    I look forward to reading more here.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for reading. Although I’d like to think I am the heroine of my own story, I frequently feel more like the dust maid.

      Long ago, I read Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth. Truthfully, I must have started it about 18 times. At about page 5, I’d fall asleep.

      There’s some argument about the whole “follow your bliss” idea. Is it actually good advice? Maybe people are happy doing what they love, but I found having a roof over my head, food on the table, and clothes on my back goes a long way towards my happiness too.

      I did like the idea that journeys of worth contain threshold guardians. The 3 paragraphs above follow the three different ways they present themselves. Being a human with a complex inner emotional life, the third one was always going to be what greeted me.

      Now, back to trying to create, then work, then create some more.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is sublime, Janet.
    The insight you share of your journey so far, written in beautiful prose.
    Man, I am so lucky to be surrounded by writers I so admire and whom I hope will rub off on me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness. Thank you, Dale. You practice this craft and inspire me.

      This blog I am doing is simply me trying to get to a place that is safer for me. I spend too much time fighting off silent muggers. It’s exhausting. Friends like you help me know that there is light in this world.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s my turn for the Oh my goodness!

        I can tell this is going deep for you. I admire those who do that.

        And yes, there is definitely light in this world.
        We just have to look for it when it seems there is none.

        Lotsa love and hugs!


  3. Dear Janet,

    I see this comes from a deep place. I read a great deal of healing into it with the narrator’s resolve to banish the guardian. Beautifully written. I’m happy Dale introduced you.



    Liked by 1 person

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